We may have just left summer behind, but before we know it, we’ll be starting to build up to Christmas. While the decorations and the like might still be a couple of months away, it’s worth thinking about getting your seasonal budget in order now, so you don’t have any nasty surprises when December swings around. While some people might think this is premature, those with an eye on their finances and who love to get the best deal will find it’s more than a sensible idea: it’s essential.
Figure Out What You’ll Need
When people leave their Christmas budgeting too late, they quickly discover that, oh gosh, there’s an awful lot to buy and the bank balance just isn’t up to the task. As such, it’s important that you make a list of absolutely everything that you could need during the festive period. Once you have the list, find out how much each thing on it costs, and then do some quick calculations. If the final figure is manageable, then great. Divide that number by three; that’s how much you’ll need to save each month. If the figure makes your eyes water, then read the next paragraph.
Cutting the Non-Essentials
We’re all guilty of overdoing it at Christmas. We buy much more than we need, incorrectly believing that “we’ll probably need it on the day”. In reality, what happens is that we end up throwing away unused food or rediscovering the decorations that we didn’t use some time in late January. If you’re watching the pennies (or even if you’re not), it’s important that you trim down the list. It would be nice to have everything, but when you’re the one paying for it, you know there are few things you can do without.
Get Your Finances Under Control
Christmas is an expensive time, but it should ruin your finances. The average American with debt adds somewhere in the region of $900 over the Christmas period, adding weeks of wages all for the benefit of just one day. Don’t let that happen to you. Before you start buying anything, get your finances under control. Figure out your outgoings and incomings, and figure out how much you’re able to save each month. If you have too many payments as it is, lump them into one payment by using a service like consolidated.credit; it’ll make keeping an eye on your finances all the more straightforward. Once you’ve got a clear overview of your financial standing, you’ll be able to work out just what kind of Christmas you’ll be able to afford.
Creating a Plan of Attack
If you give yourself enough time, you’ll be able to take charge of your Christmas spending. Make a plan of how much you’ll save each month, and then plan to buy all the gifts and essentials over time; things are often cheaper early on in the season, and you’ll also be able to avoid the last minute rush that causes stress around the holidays.
Start planning now, and you’ll have a carefree Christmas that falls well in your budget!